May, 2004

  • frankarr - an aussie microsoft blogger

    13 Years at Microsoft


    I've just celebrated my 13 year anniversary at Microsoft. It's been a fun journey.

    I've been really lucky, as I have done lots of different things, been exposed to different parts of the business, and seen it from different parts of the world. I have been very fortunate to work with some amazing people within Microsoft, as well as some outstanding organisations & people outside of Microsoft.

    Quicky chronology:

    May 1991 Sep 1993 Microsoft Canberra, working as a Systems Engineer
    Sep 1993 Aug 1994 Microsoft Corp, @ Executive Briefing Center
    Aug 1994 Oct 1995 Microsoft Corp, in the Advanced Technology Group, working on Interactive TV
    Nov 1995 May 1997 Microsoft Australia, MSN Technical Director
    Jun 1997 Jun 1999 ninemsn CTO
    Jun 1999 May 2001 Microsoft Region, Digital Media dude
    May 2001 now Microsoft Australia, Developer Evangelism

    If you want more details, you can look here, as well as stuff said in the press.

    [Now Playing: Meat Loaf - Bat out of Hell [Australia Bonus Tracks] - For Crying Out Loud (08:55)]

  • frankarr - an aussie microsoft blogger

    Aussie XMLTV WebService


    I stumbled across a really interesting xml webservice that does something really handy, provides access to a local Australian TV program guide information. A very handy service indeed.

    Development One's XMLTV based television programme guide information service for Australia.

    The following operations are supported.

    • GetProviders
      Provides a listing of all Television providers for Australia - consisting of a code and a description for each provider.

    • GetPayProviders
      Provides a listing of all Pay Television providers for Australia - consisting of a code and a description for each provider.

    • GetChannels
      Provides a listing of Channels for a given Provider and Region.

    • GetRegions
      Provides a listing of regions for Australia, consisting of a code and a description for each region.

    • GetPayChannels2
      Provides a listing of Pay Television Channels for a given Provider and Region, with the option to list the Pay TV channels or the Free to Air channels.

    • GetRecordCount
      Provides the record count for a given database table.

    • GetPrograms
      Provides a listing of Programs for a given Channel (using its ChannelID) and Date.

    • GetPayChannels
      Provides a listing of Pay Television Channels for a given Provider and Region, with the option to include Free to Air Channels.

    • GetChannelInfo
      Provides the details for a given Channel or Channels. List multiple channels with space delimiter.

    • GetFreeChannels
      Provides a listing of Free to Air Channels for a given Region.

    I'm thinking of using this to create an TV GUIDE app for my XDA II! Hmmm, two dreams apps now for my device.

  • frankarr - an aussie microsoft blogger

    CeBIT 2004 Sydney - Product using .NET FX


    I saw many solutions being shown at CeBIT that had been developed using the .NET framework and the .NET Compact Framework.  More than I expected, to be honest. I'll take that as a positive :)

    And I saw one app that knocked my socks off! It is called Filesphere, which delivers a very rich user desktop experience, integrated tightly into the explorer shell, and exploiting all the capabilities of Office 2003. This is delivering the promise of Longhorn's winfs *TODAY*. The demo was impressive, I was able to locate documents based on keywords, authors, projects, dates, etc - just like those cool longhorn demos we saw at the PDC. The system creates and manages all the meta-data for the documents and it is this meta-data that facilitates this excellent user experience.

    I don't get too excited normally, but this is a fantastic app. Developed locally in Sydney. I remember meeting the folks behind this product 18 months ago and they were very excited back then.

    It really really rocks!!! And it's all managed code.

    Robert Scoble - are you out there? You need to check out these guys.

  • frankarr - an aussie microsoft blogger

    Three Unexpected Results in Empirical Open-Source Software Engineering


    On Thursday Tyson Dowd attended a talk by Stephen R Schach from Vanderbilt University.  He talked at UTS in Sydney about some empirical research into OSS

    Slides for this talk are at:

    The results were very interesting.

    Unexpected result 1: Linus’s Law is not applicable to open-source software development

    Linus’s Law: As formulated by Raymond [2000] in his essay The Cathedral and the Bazaar

    4     “Given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow” 

    In other word

    4     If there are enough individuals examining an open-source software product, for each fault there should be someone who is able to locate that fault and explain how to fix it. 

    If there is a core group of developers and a vast periphery of users who are supposed to fix bugs because they have access to the source code, we should expect to see the majority of bugs fixed by the periphery, not the core.

    This is not the case at all:

    Fixed by core Fixed by periphery
    Tomcat 4.0 71.7% 28.3%
    Gnome 81.1% 18.9%
    Mozilla 89.6% 10.4%

    The major role the periphery plays is finding and reporting bugs, much like in closed source software.  Most of the fixes they suggest are rejected and the core provides a “correct” fix.

    Also as an extra result, enhancements come from the core, not the periphery – and decisions regarding which enhancements are made come from the core.  Core enhancements outnumber periphery 17:1.

    Unexpected result 2: Linux is unmaintainable

    Common coupling = shared global variables = bad software engineering.  It leads to unmaintanable code because the coupling introduces dependencies of otherwise unrelated modules.


    • The number of instances of common coupling grows exponentially with version number
    • The number of lines of code grows linearly with version number
    • Conclusion: As Linux grows in size, it will become unmaintainable

    Linux was found to have > 10 times the couplings (and all of them are bad, just that some are much worse than others) than OpenBSD, FreeBSD and NetBSD.

    When presented for the first time these results caused a riot amongst Linux supporters – a riot largely aimed at the presenter.

    A more accurate study was done, identifying definitions and uses (lvals and rvals for compiler lovers) of variables.  It turns out that most of the couplings are of the worst variety – non-kernel modules that modify global variables used and modified by kernel modules.  This means every optional module could conceivably break the kernel.  It makes quality control extremely difficult and means configuration testing becomes very hard (can’t test each module individually).   The results make seasoned software engineers gasp.

    Unexpected result 3: The LST result is false

    By examining bugzilla databases they find that the popular Lientz, Swanson and Tompkins result that 17.4% of maintenance was corrective, 18.2% was adaptive, 60.3% was perfective and 4.1% was other.  They authors assert that this result is wrong, chances are the people surveyed had no data (the study was from 1978 – few companies even had data) so they made up something that sounded nice.

    See the slides for more info on this at:

  • frankarr - an aussie microsoft blogger

    Windows Media Center continues overseas march


    CNET has gone public on this, so I can post it......

    Windows Media Center continues overseas march
    Microsoft plans to announce on Monday that its Media Center operating system is moving into new countries, even as the software maker works to make the entertainment software more ready for prime time.

    After launching the operating system in the United States and Korea, Microsoft has slowly been introducing it in more countries. The company is set to announce Monday that the operating system will reach Australia, Austria, Italy, the Netherlands and Switzerland by the end of the year. [more]

    Yes, you have read right - Australia will have Windows Media Center in the local market before the end of the year!!!!!

    If you want to see Windows Media Center in action, head to the Sydney Home Show for a sneak preview. Tell'em you read it on Frank's blog :)

  • frankarr - an aussie microsoft blogger

    MSDN Connection Welcome Packs being distributed

    A picture named packs.JPG


    The cards have been printed, the boxes packed and we have finally sent all the MSDN Connection Welcome Kits

    I'm pretty sure the system works because I received mine today!

    A picture named boxes.JPG
  • frankarr - an aussie microsoft blogger

    Tech.Ed 2004 | National Convention & Exhibition Centre | Canberra - 3 - 6 August 2004


    Tech.Ed 2004 is underway in San Diego at the moment (visit the Tech·Ed Blogger Site to read feedback from those who are there) and we are in the final stages of planning for Australia's Tech.Ed, scheduled for August 3 to 6 in Canberra.

    Here's a sneak preview of the Developer track we are cooking up:

    • DEV300 - Visual Studio Team System Part 1
    • DEV301 - Visual Studio Team System Part 2
    • DEV411 - ASP.NET: Best Practices for Performance
    • DEV313 - ASP.NET 2.0: Overview (Part 1)
    • DEV314 - ASP.NET 2.0: Overview (Part 2)
    • CTS302 - Connected Systems: Using Web Services Enhancements v2.0 (WSE) to Secure Web Services
    • DEV350 - Visual Studio: Programming Middle-Tier Business Logic
    • DEV351 - Visual Studio: IDE Tips and Tricks
    • DEV 370 - Developing Applications Under Windows XP Service Pack 2
    • DEV290 - .NET Framework: Exploring What's new in the CLR 2.0
    • DEV490 - .NET Framework: CLR - Under the hood
    • DEV321 - Visual C# 2005: Language Enhancements
    • DEV342 - Visual Basic 2005: Rapid Development the VB Developer
    • DEV390 - .NET Framework: So You THINK You Know What an Object Is?

    [Now Playing: Prince & the Revolution - The Very Best of Prince - Let's Go Crazy (04:40)]

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